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Happy Birthday to Me :-)

Today at Let The Words Flow I posted an article that was very hard to write, because it involved being very honest with myself, then displaying that honesty to the world.

Yes, it’s true… today is my birthday. Today I am 21. :-)

There’s a lot going on. I’m flying out Friday to see my close friend sjmaas get married. I’ll be staying in a hotel with meaganspooner and fellow LTWF contributor bee245.

Sarah pretty much changed my life when she contacted me back in October and asked me to be a founding member of LTWF. That group evolved my concept of the publishing industry and of writing culture itself. But there’s another person who changed my life more.

Even though he wouldn’t be with me today, Chris changed me into someone who’s confident, mature, and professional. Because of him I got a job at my current company, began agent-hunting, and eventually moved out and bought a house. Because he loved me I learned how to truly love myself. And even though the love between us is over (and, I fear, the friendship), the respect I gained for myself has remained.

As I say in the article, 21 marks a turning point for me. I feel like I’ve come into my own. Now that I have a legal license to venture into all parts of the world I actually feel ready to do so. And no one can take this type of awakening from me, even if they leave me, even if they hurt me.

It’s been rough. I’ve been sick. All I want to do now is fly to California, hang out with my writer friends, and forget all of this nonsense. But I think I’ve passed through the worst of it. Tonight, driving back from my parents house where we had Chinese food, watched a movie, and I forbade them from singing to me, I felt oddly uplifted. Like I can see the sun on the other side. Or maybe I’m just anticipating Santa Barbara ;-)

In any case, thank you to everyone for your kind birthday wishes. You all really made this day special <3

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The Boomerang Keeps Going Around

Oh, livejournal friends. It’s really over.

Lately a friend gave me her manuscript to read, and I swear it could be published as-is and be a best-seller. Her main character is so strong; she battles and goes into the unknown and faces Hell itself.

We all like to think we’re brave, but when you’re faced with a real situation, how will you act? In times of danger I don’t know what to say. Once when I thought a friend and I had stumbled upon a murdered victim, all I wanted to do was get away and not tell anyone (it turned out to be an elaborate prank). I remember thinking afterwards, ‘I thought I was braver than that.’

I ride roller coasters. When I was a kid I always volunteered to hold the snakes of the visiting animal experts. There’s a hole in a wall in the amphibian house in the zoo I grew up by, and I always stuck my hand deep inside it. I dove of the high diving board (it hurt). I rode the front of the raft over rapids in Tennessee (riding the bull).

Being a dare-devil isn’t hard for me (though none of that stuff above is super extreme), because that involves being brave. Bravery is doing something dangerous or hard and not caring.

Courage is doing something where you know full well how hard it will be, and it terrifies you, but you do it anyway, because it’s the right thing.

I am brave. I do not yet know if I am courageous. Courage is much harder. Courage means picking yourself up and talking yourself through it and making it one day at a time. In this situation, courage means moving on and forcing myself to find happiness again. Courage means facing the future and accepting the different gifts to be found there, even though it’s hard to leave behind the gifts you had.

I wish you courage in life, and I hope you’ll do the same for me.